Thursday, December 27, 2012

Truly and Nearly Horrific Flights Close Out 2012

An American Airlines flight attendant had a finger severed on a flight from New York to Zurich last night. An accident report filed with the Federal Aviation Administration says the unidentified woman was working Flight 64, a Boeing 767, when the injury happened. Matt Miller, a spokesman for the airline says the plane returned to Kennedy Airport, where the cabin worker was taken off to receive medical attention and the plane departed again for Zurich. There were 176 people on board.

Miller did not provide details of what exactly happened but it sounds as if her hand was caught between two food service carts.

A flight attendant on another airline serves from a cart.
The FAA has issued guidance regarding food service carts. They are heavy and unwieldy and have injured flight attendants and passengers in the past, especially during turbulence. Brakes can be difficult to operate or ineffective. They have sharp corners and often they are laden with heavy or hot items. Looking through the NTSB accident database, I found a flight attendant versus food service cart event dating back to 1975. And I am sure there are others even older.

As for this particular flight attendant, Miller said reattachment surgery was sucessful. The employee was released from the hospital. Certainly it is not too early to reassess the safety of cabin equipment and they way these trolleys are used to make sure risks are minimized.

Southwest Flight 4695 today. Photo courtesy CBS News
Passengers headed to Tampa from Long Island's McArthur Airport didn't get too far this morning. Leaving the gate, pilots on Southwest Flight 4695 mis-negotiated a turn on the taxiway and wound up with tires off the pavement. Days of rain in the Northeast made for a muddy mess, so an air stairs was brought to the plane and passengers taken off right where the Boeing 737 came to rest. They better not be hoping for sunnier skies at their Florida destination. Thunderstorms are forecast throughout the weekend.

It was a beautiful day in October without a shadow of impending doom, when planespotters in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany turned out to photograph the last flight of a Transall C-160 military airplane. Expecting the plane to land on the runway they got the shock of their lives when it touched down hundreds of feet early, coming close to crushing a few of them.

This photo from Bild-Zeitung is actually more illuminating than the video, but if you want to see it in motion, try this, and the one below.


1 comment:

Oussama's Take said...

It is not only that food carts are unwieldy and hard to handle. They are usually not very well maintained. Of course there are lighter weight versions that are easier to handle and provide weight savings.